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curtainThis past weekend in Central Florida was a big one for locals and visitors to our town. There were many events to choose from including the highly acclaimed Winter Park Arts Festival and the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Classic. I actually attended the WP Arts Festival and a stunning performance of Don Quixote performed at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center by the Orlando Ballet and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Both events were exemplary in the customer experience.

You can imagine the crowd control necessary for thousands of visitors to a five block area that involved art display booths, food kiosks, band stand, and all the existing restaurants and shops along the path. The preparation for the Art Festival was extensive and it paid off. Everything Speaks in the physical environment and sends a message; everything there spoke “we are professionals and we welcome all of you”. It started with the signage for parking and volunteers in identified vests welcoming and pointing the way for safe and easy parking. The tents that housed the artist displays were uniform, sturdy, and waterproof. This was a good thing because it rained early Saturday afternoon. Artists were able to shelter their treasured works and rain ponchos were available for visitors to don and still walk around to admire the art. There were plenty of food options through the restaurants and food stands that prevented long lines of waiting. And every evening the streets were cleaned so the start of each day was like a brand new show.

The same experience took place in a smaller venue, but one that required even more coordination and organization; the Orlando Ballet performance. The show was a marvel of sets, costumes, dancing, and superb music from the Orlando Philharmonic orchestra. The show was the product, the guest experience included everything that surrounded the show. Just like the art festival, the customer experience was exemplary because of the ease of parking and ticket entrance, volunteers to guide to seating, food and drink available and accessible, a clean and inviting theatre.

Your business is just like the above two events. When the curtain rises for your show every day, are you truly ready and prepared for your guests (customers)? Has thought and planning been put in place looking through the lens of your customers as to how to make it easy to do business with you, how to delight and wow at as many touchpoints as possible? Many organizations put all their effort into the development of a great product, but forget or ignore the power of the experience that delivers their product. It is the “experience” that people will remember and unless you put the same effort into preparing and planning your service environment, service delivery and service processes, you may still fail even while having a great product.

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